Father challenges himself to second London marathon in wife's memory
PUBLISHED: 19:29 06 September 2019
A loving father who ran this year's London Marathon carrying his wife's ashes will tackle the route again in her memory - this time 'doing the challenge for himself'.
"I will be running it for me, not for the two of us," explains Chris, who has signed up to run the 2020 London Marathon making it two years on the bounce.
Back in April he completed the same race on behalf of his wife Angela, who died in February - just a week before her 41st birthday.
Chris, who lives in Rendlesham with his son Jack, carried some of his wife's ashes in a special wristband he had made, so the pair could run one final time together.
The 39-year-old said: "It will be nice to not have so much pressure on me this time, and it's also a chance for me to challenge myself and raise even more money for Macmillan who have been such a huge support to both my son Jack and I."
Angela was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018 and it had always been her dream to run the London Marathon - but after falling ill and with her disease becoming progressively worse, her husband Chris decided to run it on her behalf.
She was hoping to be able to cheer her husband on but she sadly died during his training.
At the time, Chris said: "Angela was cheated of her dream in the most horrible way possible, but I know that by running the marathon and raising money I'm not only helping other people who are suffering like Angela, but I'm also granting her last wish."
Chris completed the 2019 London Marathon in just over 5 hours - and has now decided to mark his 40th birthday in February 2020 by running the 40th anniversary of the London Marathon in April, but this time he says it will be very different.
He said: "I'd like another chance.
"Angela was going through treatment at the time so it was difficult to concentrate on any training as my mind was elsewhere."
Chris raised just under £8,000 after completing this year's London Marathon, but is aiming to increase this to a total of £10,000 by the end of his 2020 race.
He also wants to cut down on his time and "challenge himself".
Chris, who is father to nine-year-old Jack, will be running in Angela's memory with her name on his shirt and raising money for her friends in the Ipswich Hospital oncology department where Angela worked.
He said: "Macmillan have been amazing - Jack has art therapy once a week, he's had counselling, and he's had support in his school.
"I'm so proud of how he is doing and how he's handled everything."
Chris has not yet decided whether he will take the wristband with Angela's ashes in, as he doesn't want to spoil the special experience the pair shared earlier this year.
He explained: "Part of me thinks should I just do it for me? Or will I do it with her as well? She will always be with me and of course this is all in her memory.
"My first marathon was so special as it was all so fresh and I did it entirely for her. But I don't want to ruin that memory and try and replicate it, so I'm not sure what I will do."
Chris hopes to begin training properly by the end of the month - having completed a number of smaller runs and 10ks throughout the year, along with running Elmer's Big Parade in aid of St Elizabeth Hospice where Angela was cared for.
One of the small Elmer's on the trail called Edna was named after Angela's toy elephant that she had loved as a child.
It takes centre stage in the Sailmakers shopping centre and is fittingly decorated with Angela's favourite nail varnish, lipstick and her very own running trainers.
Speaking of Edna, Chris said: "It's so nice to just stand there and listen to kids and parents reading the race times and messages on Edna. It's nice to know she is there."
Chris laughed: "If Angela could see me doing a second marathon she would say "you fool" and would think I'm crazy.
"But she will know exactly why I'm doing it and that's what matters."
You can donate to Chris' fundraiser for the 2020 London Marathon here.